Warunee, a woman convicted of royal defamation, has been admitted to the Corrections Hospital after 10 days of a hunger strike to demand the right to bail.
On 30 August 2023, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported that Warunee was transferred to the Corrections Hospital with exhaustion from the hunger strike. Following a physical examination, the doctors decided to admit Warunee to the hospital immediately.
The examination revealed that Warunee’s weight has dropped 4 kilograms to a scant 33 kilograms. She had reportedly not had a bowel movement for 6 days and was urinating only once per day. However, her blood oxygen level remains normal. Warunee has refused a saline solution, food and water, choosing to take only prescribed medicine for her bipolar disorder.
Warunee, 30, was charged with royal defamation for posting a picture of King Vajiralongkorn changing the seasonal attire of the Emerald Buddha. The picture, which was edited to make it appear as if the Buddha was wearing a purple ball gown and sitting next to a Yorkshire terrier, was captioned “Emerald Buddha x Sirivannavari Bangkok” - a reference to a fashion brand belonging to the King’s daughter.
On 28 June, Warunee was found guilty and sentenced to 3 years in prison. The sentence was reduced to 1 year and six months. She has been denied bail 4 times and is still waiting for a decision on her fifth request.
Warunee has been detained for 64 days. She began a hunger strike on 21 August 2023 to demand her right to be bailed out. She consumed only soy milk for the first 4 days, since then she has been on a dry fast and signed a document refusing medical treatment.
Poonsuk Poonsukcharoen, a TLHR lawyer who represents Warunee, told Prachatai that Warunee feels she is being bullied by the legal process. Having pled guilty and requested a royal pardon, she is still being denied bail.
On 31 August 2023, The TLHR published an announcement after visiting Warunee in the hospital, stating that she agreed to drink a small amount of oral rehydration salts but continues to refuse food and water. During conversations, Waruni's responses are delayed and the doctors are concerned about her kidney function and respiratory issues.
(Photo from the TLHR)
Warunee has also rejected treatment from the Corrections Hospital writing in a notebook,
“I, Miss Warunee Wirasak, want to be examined and treated at Thammasat Hospital as I desire.”
When asked about her message for the public, Warunee said “Many people might think that the efforts I am making are not worth it if the outcome is not up to my expectations. But I believe that if that is the case, people will still talk about me, regardless of whether it is 5 or 10 years.”
She intends to refuse food and water until she is granted bail. Currently, she is awaiting the court’s decision regarding her 5th bail request submitted on 29 August 2023.